Have you ever taken a photo film to labs to wash and wonder, how is this process going on? In this article, we will join the ‘mysterious game’, learn every step in the process of turning a film into digital images.
The film’s ‘itinerary’ starts from the lab’s photo booth, after it has spent many days in your film camera to capture the photos you feel most proud of.
The first step is to remove the end of the film from the container with a special tool. This process is not easy, as there are many movies that will bend the end of the film in the process of filming the film into the carrying case. At this time, the inner films are still very light-sensitive, so the washing engineers will have to be careful not to take them out, and use a device called ‘mobile darkroom‘.
The film will then be inserted into the cutter to cut the end of the film into a rectangle.
After being cut, the film is glued to a special adhesive tape, which will not melt during the washing process. Normally, there will be 2 sheets of film with adhesive tape on both sides to ensure the film does not fall off during washing. The tape also has small holes to be able to hook the gyroscope to film through the coating machine in the following steps.
One of the most important thing is not to make customers’ films mistaken for each other, so engineers will add a small sticker with a separate serial number, making it easier to pay the film.
And now the film is ready for washing.
The engineer will put the face with the tape of the film on the machine, need to put the hand under the film so that they do not fall to the floor. When the film has entered the machine, we will close the cover to make sure there is no light inside.
One of the worst things that can happen during the film washing process is power outage. If the power goes out, the film will be clogged inside the machine, between chemical tanks, and we will have to manually open the phone to get them out. The Fujifilm machine that we use today has a manual film roll mechanism, so during the power wash process, the engineers can take the film safely.
Before the opening day, labs will perform a color calibration step for the device. They will print a film to test, then use a density meter to measure the color to see if it is correct, otherwise it will have to be calibrated.